When I last posted it was two days shy of a month. There has been a lot going on. And I think I’ll begin with the obvious.
I started a new job. Three weeks ago.
It’s part-time, four days a week—benefits included and is close to home. I’m the receptionist/facilities administrator. A pleasant change from the past five years in disability.
Still business casual but when visitors come, I step it up a bit with a skirt and heels.
On another note, we stayed home this Thanksgiving. We didn’t go to Paris—what, with a new job and……Oona being in a wedding close by in neighboring Bucks County, PA, meant she and Sam and the boys stayed with us and I got to babysit while Oona and Sam attended a wedding.
Jake flew in from LA. Roman arrived via Amtrak from NYC and my step-daughter and her family were all on board for Thanksgiving Dinner. My sister and her family were dining at her in-laws and stopped by for dessert so it was a very enjoyable holiday with lots of activity!
A nice shot of me and my boys during the hectic Thanksgiving week!
Due to the babies arriving, I did manage to add some Holiday décor to make the house festive for them!
The small fake tree was in the sunroom. I wanted at least a little holiday embellishment!
As usual, Thanksgiving was fantastic. Great food and family—what could be better?
I didn’t look like that as I served the turkay. I also don’t have a picture but it was pretty-much a modern take on Normam Rockwell’s Thanksgiving dinner!
The icing on the cake was getting to babysit for Owen and Bennett whilst Oona and Sam attended the wedding—actually Oona was in the wedding party. And……. Owen was ring bearer. And after enjoying himself for a while at the reception, he was ready to come to the room and enjoy quality time with GamGam and Uncle Roman!
My grandson, Owen, quite possibly the most adorable not-quite-two years old ring bearer of all time! The flower girl dropped the petals and Owen cleaned them up. Oona is training him very well!
Back to Thanksgiving—Since the kids were over a few days prior, it meant lots of cooking and prep for the Holiday. I have to say that I should have taken photographs of the turkey because it turned out to be the best I’ve ever made.
Chef Jay Hajj with his turkey. Mine turned out looking this good but I didn’t cook it standing as he suggests because the bird was too big!
I followed the brining instructions from the cookbook Beirut to Boston by Chef Jay Hajj. Hands down, this brine was fantastic. We had to purchase a huge plastic tub from the hardware store because the 24-pound turkey was a handful. Placed the turkey in a giant plastic bag, added the brine and placed into the tub.
This book has become one of my favorites and well-used!
It was almost comical. I purchased a tub similar to this, placed a huge plastic trash bag in it, placed the turkey in the plastic bag, poured the cooled brine, closed the bag and filled with ice. For two days. It was well-worth it!
Now, there was so much stuff in the fridge that the tub with the bird and the brine had to be placed out on our deck. Due to the temperature two days before Thanksgiving being more end-of-summer, The Frenchman had to get ice. Luckily when evening fell the temperature dropped drastically and my turkey was bathed in a cold brine surrounded by ice.
I was nervous about the turkey because I didn’t cook it with stuffing. My ex-husband and his girlfriend had the task of bringing stuffing over. His mother’s recipe for stuffing was always a hit with everyone so I took advantage of one less item to cook. Anyway, I opted for throwing a couple of oranges and lemons into the cavity and basting the bejesus out of this turkey. AND, I actually cooked TWO turkeys. Chef Hajj suggests cooking one to make stock. Trust me the first bird was merely a turkey breast but it still did the job.
Needless to say, even I was impressed with the juiciness of the bird. Honestly, three days later the remaining meat was not dry. His brining recipe is a keeper.
I also made his hummus and his Moroccan Meatballs. The meatballs are such a hit with my family that I’ll make a batch next weekend and freeze them.
Incredibly creamy and the best hummus I ever had. Chef Hajj’s. I’ll never go back to store-bought hummus again!
You can see from the mess I made on the recipe page that these are a family favorite.
I made a lot. A lot. They keep well in the fridge and Roman would just randomly snack on them–and the sauce is incredible!
After the meatballs are browned, they continue to cook in this ridiculously aromatic and flavorful sauce. I’m getting hungry.
The hummus? Owen, who isn’t even two years old couldn’t get enough of it. His strategy was sticking a piece of pita into the hummus, sucking the hummus off then redipping the bread.
My little sous chef. He helped me with baking cookies. And ate a ton of hummus!
My apologies for a serious lack of pictures but we were having so much fun that I didn’t take any pics of Thanksgiving dinner. Here are a few that I did manage to take.
Blueberry crumb oversized muffins which were a big hit..
Croissants which are always a huge crowd pleaser.
Homemade cranberry sauce.
Biscoff roulade. I made it in advance, wrapped it very securly, froze it, thawed it out and decorated it right before dessert. This was delicious.
The Biscoff filling was finger-lickin’ good!
Preparing deviled eggs.
I made quiches in these pie pans that I bought from Amazon. Very Emile Henry but for a fraction of the price. Went from fridge to oven with no issues and cleaned up like a charm! The brand is Le Tauci and I’m heading to Amazon to buy two more.
Onto Friday. Jake flew back to LA. Oona; Sam and the babies drove to the wedding venue for the rehearsal and spent the night. Roman and I hung out. The next day we drove to the wedding, to Oona and Sam’s room to baby sit.
Wow. It was such a pleasurable time. First of all, Oona is such a great mom. She’s very much on routine –especially with baby Bennett. She had a ton of expressed milk in bottles for him. And it was easy peasy. Although I must say, he went through quite a number of diapers!
Baby Bennett is so chill. He’s completely unfazed by me. LOL!
Owen was the ring bearer and after he partied for a while, Oona brought him back to the room. He watched his little Trash Truck videos, we read, then he went to bed.
Tired after dancing and partying at the wedding–it was Trash Truck time and then right to bed!
On Sunday, Roman and I visited Longwood Gardens to see the trees in the conservatory all dressed up for the Holidays. And in the Holiday spirit, came home with two ornaments and a Christmassy bar of soap!
Just before the rain arrived at Longwood Gardens!
The Christmas decorations are awe-inspiring and really get you into the Holiday spirit!
Photos don’t do justice to the natural beauty.
It’s so beautiful!
Now THIS is a wreath!
Little goodies that Roman treated me to!
Monday morning brought about a farewell to Roman as he caught the train back to NYC and to work. There is such an empty feeling when the kids leave. And it takes a few days to get my emotions back to normal.
Here’s where the fun begins. The office I work is in new. As such, there is still minor construction going on. And on Thursday, work was being done in the reception area which is my new dwelling. Due to safety measures, I was given the day off. Which was a nice turn of events as it meant another four-day weekend.
On Thursday I decided to run a few errands. One of the errands was purchasing a plain wreath for the front door and Poinsettias. I drove to my favorite place for product and plants—Produce Junction and I found what I needed.
I purchased a plain wreath and embellished it with ribbon, berries and balls!
My Poinsettias. I need more!
After loading the car and dropping the shopping cart off, I made my way to my vehicle. Then it happened. I fell. I fell because I tripped over my foot. I tripped over my foot because I have this awful habit of dragging my feet. I was wearing flat shoes. However, my clumsiness me. I fell hard. Thankfully the cashmere leggings that were worn were not ripped, but underneath all that fuzzy warmth, I gashed my knee. My coat never ripped but I had a gash on my arm. My nose got scratched and my clean white tee was now a mess of gray tar, dirt and the remnants of a rainstorm the night before.
I leave the house all clean and arrive home a hot mess! My leg was actually a lot worse. This photo was the cleaned up version!
But there as another surprise. A surprise worse than the fate of bloody limbs and filthy clothing. Upon my fall, face down to the ground, I fell an inch away from a used condom. Yes. My precious visage almost touch someone’s love juice. I could not handle that.
No way would I take a photo of that thing. But this is pretty-much my reaction upon seeing that!
As helpful as shoppers and store staff were to run to my assistance, the only thing I could point out to them was the used piece of latex rubber. Had my face touched that thing, I would have driven straight to the ER to have them degerminate my entire body.
And so, the next two days were spent sore and bloody. I think it would have been a safer haven for me at the office.
Wait! There’s more entertainment.
On Friday, we got our Christmas tree. We’ve always gotten a rather…large tree but this year, my husband suggested going the smaller route. Although I hate to admit it, he was right. The kids have their own lives. Jake will spend Christmas with his girlfriend’s family. Oona has the same Christmas value routine that I had when the kids were younger. Don’t leave the house—Christmas is for the kids. Roman will come over simply because he isn’t far away and my husband’s daughter and her family will come for dinner. So, it’ll be small and intimate.
Our 2018 tree. Rather large but pretty. We opted for smaller this year!
We headed out to get the tree and found one at Home Depot. A nice balsam fir number that hit the six-feet mark. It’s full but not oversized.
Ahhh. The Frenchman smiles because he is happy to finally have a smaller tree!
My husband also pointed out that since the tree was substantially smaller in girth that we get a tree stand constructed for a smaller sized tree. I agreed and we purchased a tree stand with plastic screws.
This is the tree stand we decided upon. It’s plastic. The screws are plastic. Do you know where this is headed?
Upon arriving home, we prepared for the tree’s placement in the usual corner in the living room. Honestly, a smaller tree was a pleasure to take up the stairs and place into the stand. Now, about the plastic stand. The tree was placed into it. The trunk screwed in, but if felt slightly wobbly to me. My husband assured me it was fine. The tree, nestled into the corner, settled in for the night before being decorated.
Taking up less space, I think I’m going to go for a smaller tree every year.
Yesterday, I woke up early, and after my morning coffee, headed downstairs to begin embellishing and decorating the tree. Strands of lights carefully placed upon the evergreen. Spools of ribbon were wrapped carefully on the diagonal. Ornaments from years past and recent ones were hung with thoughtful placement.
I woke up early to untangle about 8 sets of tree lights. Ever so patiently I must say!
Then it happened. The plastic tree stand that was wobbly in the first place gave out and the tree fell. On me. On me who already had two gashes, a scratched nose from two days before, was now under a fallen tree. Ribbons became unfurled. Ornaments flew. Chippy’s eyes lit up because he envisioned lots of items to chew.
Yes. The tree fell. On me.
I called to my husband. No answer. He was watching the World Cup.
Apparently these guys were more important than me and the tree!
I called again. No answer. I managed to lift the tree off me. The tree that was now a tangled mess of lights, fallen needles and ribbon droppings. I held the tree and called to my husband in a louder pitch. Meanwhile water was on the carpeting.
My voice would wake the dead. If you drove me to a cemetery late at night and had me scream, I can assure you that at the least, spirits would rise and beg me to let them rest. However, my husband was so focused on the World Cup that he didn’t hear me. Finally, after what seemed like hours, there must have been a commercial break because he finally came downstairs.
I’m proud to be loud!
He assessed the damage, went downstairs to the garage and came back with the old tree stand that was used for the larger trees. It worked like a charm.
In the meantime, I had a tree to redecorate, I was covered in tree needles and sap, and had a meltdown.
Understand, we were an hour and change away from attending a community theatre production in which my husband’s pre-teen granddaughter was performing. She’s incredibly talented and it would have been great to see her but there was no way I would be ready in an hour. And there was no way I would leave the mess of the tree on the floor for our dog to tend to while we were away.
The redecorated version. I kinda like it!
Instead, I stayed home to re-decorate the mess. My husband was not happy but I’m going to see her perform at a later date.
Just some Holiday fun folks. And as I sit here typing these words, I’m looking up at our tree-standing erect in its corner and thinking—it doesn’t look half bad!
I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and are looking forward to this Christmas and Hanukkah Season!
I’m spending the day indoors today. Away from parking lots and trees!